Noxious Weeds Are Obnoxious

When I was growing up, my Dad’s favorite reward for unacceptable behavior was tell my brothers and me that we had to spend an hour in the pasture digging up musk thistle.  To this day, I can spot a musk thistle from 300 feet away and feel compelled to dig it up.  This wasn’t a fruitless exercise invented by my Dad.  It was also his method of controlled a noxious week in our pasture.

What are the laws on noxious weeds?

The Nebraska Department of Agriculture operates the Nebraska Noxious Weed Program.  The Program is to control invasive weeds that are dangerous to the humans, livestock, and compete with crops and pasture, substantially reducing yields.

What weeds are classified as noxious?

  • Canada Thistle
  • Leafy Spurge
  • Musk Thistle
  • Plumeless Thistle
  • Sericea lespedeza
  • Giant Knotweed
  • Purple Loosestrife
  • Spotted and Diffuse Knapweeds
  • Saltcedar
  • Phragmites
  • Japanese Knotweed
  • Bohemian Knotweed

If you need help identifying any of the above, pictures of each are here.

But what responsibilities do you as a farmer or rancher have with regards to noxious weeds?  First, it is the duty of any person to control the spread of noxious weeds on lands owned or controlled by him or her.  See Neb. Rev. Stat. § 2-952.  A person is not limited to an individual; it includes partnerships, firms, limited liability companies, corporations, companies, societies, or association.  Land is controlled by a person when the person has the authority to operate, manage, supervise, or exercise jurisdiction over or any similar power.  To control noxious weeds means the prevention, suppression, or limitation of growth, spread, propagation, or development or the eradication of weeds.  Neb. Rev. Stat. ¶ 2-953.

If a person fails to comply with controlling noxious weeds and the weed control authority finds that prompt control of weeds is required, a notice shall be given.  The person is provided fifteen days to control the weeds and a conviction of noncompliance may result in a $100 per day fine not to exceed $1,500.  If more immediate action is required, the weed control authority may proceed as necessary and place a tax lien on the property for the expenses of controlling the weeds.

Long story short?  Keep in eye out for noxious weeds and keep them under control.  You want to maximize the growth in your pastures and fields; one of the ways to do so is keeping the noxious weeds under control.

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